tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 9, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST
inside who was responsible for this. >> it plays to the stereotype of what everyone thinks the negative frame around christie, which is that he's a bully and thug. there's a chance this would be the end of his national political career. >> he's got to get out of in front and own this. >> welcome to the nfl, welcome to the vetting process. now that he's essential shown interest, this is what life is like. >> joining mess this hour we have new jersey democratic governor bill -- host of the daida dayy run down. \s. the inside story of his rice to power. grate to have all of you with me. if i have to cut you off abruptly, forgive me. we want to hear exactly what he
will say. but congressman, let me begin with you. this is a national story because of the attention that comes to a figure like chris christie, but what is it that the people of new jersey need to hear from their governor in the words to come? >> particularly the people of fort lee nobody in fort lease that i talk to, talked to the mayor against this morning, because i thought he's done a masterful job in keeping his cool and not going beyond politics. not going into politics it was a homeland security issue as well. so he has to look to the people of fort lee and apologize, number one. >> you worked with the aide brit anne kelly. you've come out in defense, they texts do go back to this
back-and-forth she had with wildstein, who is not there any longer. what does it say about the type of person she is that you would come out and defend her, saying it's not her fault? >> well, i didn't say it wasn't her fault. i did say that i've known her to be a reputable person, a person of character. she worked for david wuso when i was -- i found both him and his aides to be the most classy people i met when i was down in trenton. for you to make me believe or anybody to make me believe she woke up one morning and decided she would gill the word to screw up traffic in fort lee is pretty ridiculous. you don't believe that and i don't believe that. all of the people involved -- look, the question is not what did he know and when del he know it, the governor. the question is he appointed every one of these people, the people at the port authority, the people who surround him. the guy who will be the next
chairman of the republican party in the state of new jersey. i mean, he's going to make statements about him and make statements -- put your money on it -- about her. if they're the scapegoats in this thing, this is even bigger than i thought. >> is there a larger political impact. obviously he wants to be seen, or at least the brand he's crafted for himself is this wildly popular republican governor of a blue state. >> i've got to say this about that. it's not only chris christie's folks around him when build this image, which i talked about over four years, but the press itselves that -- we are so caught up in celebrity that people can say anything about anybody. this is not acceptable to me, and certainly not acceptable to the people in fort lee, not only because it's part of my district, but you just cannot do these kinds of things. i mean, and the fact that e-mails were used should send a
lesson and message to everybody. i want to know what's the redacted part of those messages. that's what i would like to know as well. but again, it isn't what did he know and when did he know it, and did he pull -- did he give the final okay on this, the governor. he put all of these people in place. he has to deal with that situation. he's just been elected. he was duly elected to governor -- >> reelected. >> and he hasn't been sworn in yet, but he's been duly reelected. >> congressman, i want to get to our chuck todd on this. i see our kelly o'donnell is in the front row waiting for this presser to begin. chuck, what does it mean talking to the people and culture of the office if he didn't know about it, and maybe he does have plausible deniability, but if he has senior staffers that feel that they need to enact muscle like this? >> that's the -- obviously it's
totally debill at a timing to him, if he knew and ordered all of this, but let's take him at his word. then auld of a sudden has he created a culture in his office that this is acceptable behavior. his best defense, not knowing, undercuts what was supposed to be one of the his greatest strengths, the idea that he's on top of things, he's not a petty guy, but is a take-charge kind of guy. take charge people don't have this happen in his office without them knowing about it.
what is most damning is the drip, drip, drip of information. if chris christie doesn't around platout every single question and make sure that people feel very confident in his answers, because everybody will triple check and do the background research, you will see more people stepping back and waiting to see whether or not they want to get on board this ship. that's the challenge, will he become a liability at a time when he's supposed to be out there helping the party and raising money. >> let me get this one text image up. it's full screen number two, guys, in the text after the fact that the bridge closure had happened. it was on september 10th. from an unknown person, his name was not included, is it wrong that i'm smiling? david wildstein said no.
steve kornacki, i know one of your first jobs was working for wildstein. what's your thought about what type of player he is politically? he was the arm of chris christie's administration and port authority. >> he was part of it. bill beroni was the guy that christie appointed, and bill beroni brought in wildstein. i have to say i haven't had a conversation with him, so i don't have any inside information, but i was talking to another republican in new jersey, asking how are republicans processing this, why haven't we heard from more republicans, and what the republican told me is -- >> let me ask you to stand by. chris christie is here. >> complae back here to this office, and i come out here today to apologize to the people of new jersey. i apologize to the people of fort lee, and i apologize to the
members of the state legislature. i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. there's no doubt in my mind that the conduct that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for their appropriate role in government and for the people that we are trusted to serve. two pieces to what i want to talk about today. the first is, i believe that all of the people who were affected by this conduct deserve this apology, and that's why i'm giving it to them. i also need to apologize to them
for my failure as the governor of this state to understand the true nature of this problem sooner than i did. but i believe i have an understanding now of the true nature of the problem, and i've taken the following action as a result. this morning i've terminated the employment of bridge et kelly, effective immediately. i terminated her employment, because she lied to me. i brought my senior staff together, i think about four weeks ago tomorrow, and i put to all of them one simple challenge -- if there is any information that you know about the decision to close these lanes in fort lee, you have one
hour to tell either my chief of staff, kevin o'dowd our my chief counsel charlie mckenna. i told them in an hour i was going to go out in a press conference and if no one game me other information to the contrary, that i was going to say that no one on my staff was involved in this matter. over the course of the next hour, kevin and charlie interviewed each member of my senior staff, came back and reported to me that they all reported that there was no information other than what we already knew that had been testified to by senator beroni regarding this incident. i then questioned kevin o'dowd and charlie mckenna directly, since they are the only two who report directly to me. and they assured me that they
had no information that would change my ability to be able to say that no one, in response to angie's question, on my staff was involved in this matter. that was obviously a lie. and the e-mails that i saw for the first time yesterday morning, when they were broken in i believe the bergen record story, proved that that was a lie. there's no justification for that behavior. there's no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. and as a result, i've terminated bridget's employment immediately this morning. secondly, i have and will
continue to -- it started yesterday -- to once again now have personal one on one discussions myself with the remaining members of my senior staff to determine if there's any other information that i do not know and need to know in order to take appropriate action. i've not completed with those interviews yet, but when i am, if there is additional information that needs to be disclosed, i will do so. if there's additional actions that need to be taken with my senior staff, i will do so. i will tell you, though, it's been written a lot about what a tig tight-knit staff that i have and how closely everyone together, that is true. and ever since i was a u.s. attorney, i've ensdwrendereded sense and feel with the people
closest to me that we're family, we work together, we tell each other the truth, we support each other and admonish each other. i am heartbroken that someone who i permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust. i would never have come out here four or five weeks ago and made a joke about these lane closures if i had ever had an inkling that anyone on my staff would have been so stupid but to be involved and then so deceitful to just not disclose the information of their involvement to me when directly asked by their superior. and those questions were not asked, by the way, just once. they were asked repeatedly.
so i take this action today, because it's my job. i am responsible for what happened. i am sad to report to the people of new jersey that we fell short. we fell short of the expectations that we've created over the last four years with the type of excellence from the golf that they should expect from this office. but i have repeatedly said that, while i promise them the best governor's office i could give them, i could never promise a perfect governor's office. so when i find those imperfections, those mistakes, those lies, my obligation as the chief executive of this state is to act. and to bridget kelly, i have acted today. secondly, i was disturbed by the
tone and behavior and attitude and callous indifference that was displayed in the e-mails by my former campaign manager bill steppian, and reading that, it made me lose my confidence in bill's judgment, and you cannot have someone at the top of your political operation who you do not have confidence in. as a result, i've been instructed bill steppian to not place his name in nomination for state party chairman, and he will not be considered for state party chairman, and i've instructed him to withdraw his consultant sill with the republican governors association. if i cannot trust someone's
judgment, i would not ask others to do so, and would not place him at the head of my political operation, because of the lack of judgment that was shown in the e-mails that were revealed yesterday. that has also been communicated to him last night. there's no doubt that bill has been qualify my closest advisers over the last five years. so for that too i am sad today to have to take this action, but i also know that i have a job to do. it's the job that i've asked the people of new jersey to entrust me with, and i can never allow personal feelings or long-standing relationships to get in the way of doing my job the way it's appropriate to do it.
but i don't want any of you to confuse what i'm saying this morning. ultimately i am responsible for what happens under my watch, the good and the bad, and when mistakes are made, then i have to own up to them and take the action that i believe is necessary in order to remediate them. as you mentioned to you earlier, i spend all day yesterday digging in, talking to folks, getting to the bottom of things. i know there was much discussions yesterday about what was i doing? well, let me tell you, everybody. i was blindsided yesterday morning i was dorn with my workout yesterday morning. i go the a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:5, informing me of this
story that had just broken on "the bergen record" website. that's the first time i knew about this, the first time i had seen any documents that were revealed yesterday. so before i came out and spoke to all of you, i wanted to do the best i could to try to get to the bottom of some of this, so when i came out, i could answer questions as best i can, and take appropriate action if action was necessary. there's no doubt from reading those e-mails yesterday in my mind that action was necessary, and then i wanted to make sure i spoke to those people who advised me, to make sure if there was any other information that they were aware of, i had it before i acted. i'm going to continue this process. i couldn't get it all done yesterday, and as i said, if there's more information i uncover, i'll act accordingly in terms of releasing it to the public and taking whatever action may be necessary, if any is, for any other issues.
also will react to any other information incoming from any place else giving there's an oig and legislative investigation. later today i'll be going to fort lee, i asked to meet with the mayor to apologize to him fernly, face-to-face, and also to apologize to the people of fort lee in their town. i think they need to see me do that personally. i intend to do that later on today. people of those communities for four days were impacted in a completely callous and indifferent way, and i'm going to go and apologize for that. let me conclude with this. this is not the tone i've st.,
the environment i've worked so hard to achieve. i've seen over the course of the last four years, republicans and democrats working together -- not without government. government is never without argument, but ultimately coming to resolution on so many different issues, and running a campaign that was in fact a bipartisan campaign. so i am extraordinarily disappointed by this. but this is the exception it is not the rule of what's happening the last four years in this administration. i have considered it over the last four years to be my job to be the governor of every new jerseyian, republican, democrat, independent or unaffiliated. i have worked with elected officials on both sides of the aisle, ones that i agree with and ones that i disagree with. the political overtones that
were exhibited in those documents yesterday is not acceptable, but people i think all across this state understand that human beings are not perfect and mistakes are made, and i believe what they expect of me as the chief executive of this state is, when that information come into my possession dhen i consider it, and act as swiftly as possible to remediate whatever ill occurred. that's what i have done today. actions have consequences. i'm living up to that right now. and i'll say one last thing, just so we're really clear. i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution, and i am stunned by the abject
stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way, and is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years, and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four. i will do everything within my power to assure the people of new jersey of that, and i thank them for their willingness to consider my apology on behalf of this government. in the end, i have 65,000 people working for me every day, and i cannot know what each one of them is doing at every minute, but that doesn't matter, i'm ultimately responsible for what they do. that's why i took this action. david? >> reporter: governor, beyond the apology and the terminations that you have announced, what
other steps, concrete steps do you plan to take? to reassure people that you want to change the perception, and will that include working cooperatively with the investigations that are moving forward. in the past you had some rather nasty words to the people that were heading them up. >> i apologize to that this morning, david, because i was being led to believe by folks around me there was no basis to this. let's be fair. there have been times when investigations around here have led to nothing and had no basis. but i was wrong. so now having been proven wrong, of course we'll work cooperatively with the investigations, and, you know, i'm going through an examination, as i mentioned to you, right now. that's what i'm doing. i'm talking to the individual people who work for me, not only
to discover if there's any other information that we need to find, but also to ask them, how did this happen? how did this, you know, occur to us? listen, as i said before, i've a tight knit group of people who i trust implicitly. i had no reason to believe they weren't telling me the truth. it is heartbreaking to me. lying to me is not an exhibition of loyalty. i'm going to look into this personally. this is my responsibility, david. what steps we'll take after that, if there are concrete steps beyond what i've done today, then we'll certainly announce them and talk about them. if, you know, if not, i'll just say, listen, i think we've gotten to the bottom of this and
we'll move forward with the new team. i have a new team i'm trying to integrate also in the next two weeks, so there will be a lot of action going on. kelly? >> reporter: -- reveals that you are a political bully, that your style is payback. are you? and does this compromise your ability to serve? >> no, i'm not. everybody in the country who engages in politics knows that. on the other hand, that's very, very different from saying, you know, that someone is a bully. i have very heated discussions and arguments with people in my own party and on the other side of is the aisle. i feel passionately about issues. i don't high my emotions from people. i am not a focus group tested, blow-dried candidate or governor. now, that has always made some people, as you know, uneasy.
some people like that style, some people don't, and i've always said -- i think you asked me a question the day after the election, are you willing to change your style in order to appeal to a broader audience? and i think i said no, because i am who i am, but i am not a bully. what i will tell you is that the folks who have worked with me over a long period of time would, i believe, tell you that i'm tough, but i'm shown over the last four years in the tone a that i'm willing to compromise and work with others. the campaign showed with all the of the folks who came from the other side of the aisle to support us, that if we weren't willing to have relationships with those folks, it never would have happened that way. so i don't believe that, kelly, and i don't believe the body of work in the last four years displays that. now, in this instance, the language used and the conduct displayed in those e-mails is
unacceptable to me. i will not tolerate it, but the best i can do is when i see stuff like that, to end it. i know that won't satisfy everybody, but i'm not in the business of satisfying everybody. i'm in the business of satisfying the people who elected me governor. michael? >> governor, you say that you're going to individually interview all the members of the governor's office -- >> senior staff, yeah. >> what about the campaign? are you going to. >> howit doesn't rise above bill? >> he was the campaign manager. there was no one above -- >> officials, some of them -- >> but their role in the campaign was not the day to day operation. the chairman of the campaign, he was essentially involved with fund-raising. that was bill's main task. mike duhane was the general
consultant, dealing with tv ads and mail pieces. the day-to-day operation -- >> did they know about it. >> yes, those were two of mice operations yesterday. >> angie? guys, we all work that way. >> reporter: how confident are you that this tactic of revenge retribution, did not go beyond this? >> listen, angie, i'm smart enough now, after this experience not to go out there and certify that unequivocally, okay? i don't have any evidence before me as we speak that it wentb yond this incident, but i can't tell you. now i have to be much more circumspect to that. prior to yesterday, i believed if i worked someone in the eye who i worked with and trusted and asked them, that i would get
an honest answer. maybe that i was naive, but that's what i believe. so now i'm going and digging in and asking more questions, but i can't make a warranty on that, angie. i don't believe so, but i can't make a warranty, and i won't. when i did that four weeks ago, i wound up being wrong. a follow-up. >> reporter: you did not authorize the retribution -- >> absolutely not, no, and i knew nothing about this until it started being reported about the closure. even then, i was told it was a traffic site. there -- that now mass lit wall overtones as well. i think we'll find out, but i don't know. the senator presented all types of information that day to the legislature, statistics and maps and otherwise that seemed to evidence a traffic stop.
i think i said that at the time -- i'm not finished yet, guys, but the fact is that, um, regardless of all of that, you know, it's clear now that in the minds of some people there were political overtones or political side deals on this, and that's unacceptable. so it appeared that there was one, based on what i saw in the testimony, but regardless of whether there was or wasn't, clearly there were also political overtoenz that were evidenced in those e-mails and other messages that were never, ever brought to my attentionened yesterday. >> reporter: you understand why people would have a hard time believing it that you didn't know about the lane closures, considering your management
sty style. >> listen, i am -- there's this, you know, kind of reputation out there of me being a micromanager. i'm not. i think if you talk to my start, what they would tell you is i delegate enormous thor to my staff, and i tell them, come to me with the policy decisions that need to be made, with some high-level personnel decisions that need to be made, but i do not micromanage in that way first. second, there's no way that anyone would think i know about everything that's going on, not only in every agency of government, but also every independence authority that new jersey has on its own or by at a time, bot with new york, pennsylvania and with delaware. so what i can tell you, if people find that hard to believe, i don't know what else to say except i had no knowledge of this, the planning or execution or anything about it.
and even then, what i was told was that it was a traffic study, and there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday. i understand your question completely and i understand why people would ask that question, but even with all that being said, it's still my responsibility. i didn't know about t. but it's my responsibility, because i'm the governor, so i'm taking that responsibility and taking actions probably with executing the responsibility in accord with what the information is today. marsha? >> reporter: the u.s. attorney in new jersey said he's opening an investigation to determine whether a federal law was violated. are you and the u.s. attorney -- if you were the u.s. attorney would you think there's anything to be investigated?
>> i hated when politicians stood behind a podium and said this is what a u.s. attorney should or shouldn't do. i'm not going to engage in that kind of conduct at all. >> reporter: have you asked of your staff, are there any other cases of political retribution -- >> listen, again, let me say this, clearly that's the tone of those e-mails, but the thing that -- the other part of this that just shocks me, as i've said to you many times before, the mayor was never on my radar screen. he was never mentioned to me as somebody whose endorsement we were even pursuing. i think he said last night he doesn't even recall being asked for his endorsement. so part of this is i never saw this as political retribution, because i didn't think he did anything to us. we pursued lots of endorsements
during the campaign from democrats, and we didn't receive most of them. we received about 60 at the end of the day. we pursued hungs, so i don't have any recollection of at any time -- -- which was the typical course that was used when we were attempting to get an endorsement, that staff would work with elected officials first, and then yew the very narc lard, when they thought the ball was on the tee, they would call me in for a meeting or breakfast, and i would meet with them and see if i could bring it over the line. i don't ever remember meeting the mayor, certainly not in that context. i'm sure i met him at some point, but until i sue his picture last night on television, i wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a
lineup. so part of this is the reason that the retribution idea never came into my head is i never even knew that we were pursuing his endorsement. no one ever came to me to get me to try to pursue the endorsement in any way. >> reporter: now that you know it did happen -- >> well, sure, of course, of course. john? >> reporter: i want to know what kind of questions you might be asking of yourself? out of 65,000 employees, the people who are close to you and people you trust, are they -- >> what was that last people. >> with mine? >> reporter: the staff -- >> yeah. a few of them were there. >> reporter: so i'm just asking, what are you asking yourself? or they proved they were willing to go rogue, cover it up and then lie to you? >> listen, obviously i said
earlier, june, i'm heartbroken about it, and incredibly disappointed. i don't think i've gotten to the angry stage yet, but i'm sure i'll get there. but i'm just stunned. what does it make me ask about me? it makes me ask about me what did i do wrong to have these folks think it was okay to lie to me? there's a lot of soul searches that goes with this. when you're the leader of an organization. i've this happen to me before where i've had folks not tell me the truth about something not since i've been governor, but you always wonder what you could do differently. i've lost a lot of sleep and i'm
schick over this. i've worked for the last 12 years in public life developing a reputation for honesty and directness u. one that i think is well deserved. but you know, when somebody like this happens, it's appropriate for you to question yourself certainly i am. what i want the people of new jersey to know, this is the exception, knolls the rule, and they have seen that over the last four years. i don't want to fall into the trap saying this incident happened, so it defines the whole. it doesn't. just like one employee who lied doesn't determine the rest of the character of the employees around you. i've done some soul-searching. brian?
>> reporter: the mayor of jersey city is quoted as saying that the day he declined to endorse you, when he said he would vote democrat, as many as ten appointments between state officials and jersey city officials were canceled. how do you explain that in the context of what you now know about what some of your staff did? >> listen, all i know is i don't know, that's the first an, but i'll also say mayor phillips seems to have disagreements with a lot of people, with me, the senate president and others. there's going to be back-and-forth, there's going to be meetings canceled. there will be public disagreements, but the fact of the matter is we have continued to work with jersey city over the course of time since he's been mayor. you know, in the last year i think we've approved about $190 million in financing for projects? jersey city. the d.e.p., deputy commissioner
was just meeting yesterday with mayor phillip and his staff on blue acres issues, to try to buy out properties affected by sandy. we continue to work with him. i don't know about specific meetings or what's going on, but certainly i will look into all of those things, but the fact is that what mayor philip knows is when we agree where a policy perspective, we'll work with him. when we disagree, we'll express those disagreements. he's suing the port authority at the moment, so there's lots of back and forth, to and fro, that happens with these things. i look into all this stuff, but in the end, have i at times been angry with the mayor? you bet i have, but i have also spoke at his swearing-in at his invitation, so political relationships in this state go up and down, as you know, brian. sometimes strange bedfellows,
and they move. i'm sure there's been changes, but not anything i can explain. bob? >> reporter: i heard that when your staff read the record and -- the university apology including the press corps? >> well, sure. i mean, listen, most of you, i hope, are citizens of new jersey. >> there's some exceptions. >> i nor there are, we don't need to point them out. of course it does. the fact is i came out and said something that was untrue. i mean, unwittingly, but i said something that was untrue. i think what you have seen xw me in my last four years is i deal with you directly. i say exactly what i think. i think over time i have developed a reputation for telling you the truth, as i see it. there can be disagreements, but the truth as i see it. would i include the press corps?
of course i would, because most, if not -- many if not most of you are residents of the state and you rely upon this state government to be honest and trustworthy as well, and in this instance, my government fell short, and i tail responsibility for that. beth? >> i'm wondering what your staff said to you about why they lied to you? what was their explanation? >> i have not had any conversation with bridget kelly. she was not given the explanation why she lied. i'm quite frankly not interested in the explanation at the moment. i think a statement was put out that he had no knowledge of this. i interviewed him yesterday. i am convinced he had absolutely no knowledge of this, that this
was executed at the operational level and never brought to the attention of the board of commissioners until chairman foy wrote his e -- or executive director wrote his e-mail to the board of commissioners. i sat and met for two hours with general sampson, and again i'm confident that he had no knowledge of this based upon our conversations, and his review of his information. so i think, as he said yesterday, he's angered by this and upset about it. i know he's going to cooped with the oig koorps that's ongoing and lead a discussion at the port authority about what could be done at the future to stop such conduct. charlie? >> reporter: you mentioned earlier that the question you were asking is what did i -- what did i do wrong to have these folks lie? are you also asking what did i say or conduct myself or behave
in a way that would let these folks think it was okay to do something like this? the suspicion has been that you fostered through your administration or through the campaign that allowed people to think it was okay to intimidate or retaliate against people? >> no, i haven't, because i know who i am. i'm not that person. listen, it's easy for people to be characterized in public life based on their personality. i have a very direct, blunt personality. i understand why some people who would characterize that, especially people who don't like you, as bullying but it's not that. i haven't asked that question. i'm more focussed why the truth wasn't told to me. >> are you going to the mayor and also apologize for the
jokes -- >> i just did. i just did. i said i'm sorry for that and never would have made that joke if i knew the facts that have come forward for me today. >> reporter: what prompted you to joke about it -- >> i thought it was absurd and i thought we had nothing to do with it. that's why. obviously -- obviously the e-mails evidence a indifference to the result of that. that's what i've apologized for. i do apologize for it, melissa. i certainly intend to apologize, you know, to the mayor today. i'm going to try to get a meeting with him this afternoon. terry? >> reporter: governor, it lose like in the e-mails there's at least one mayor who -- -- >> who is that? >> is that what your campaign -- >> i read that. i didn't read that that way.
at all. that was a reference to a traffic study that candidly, i know nothing about. i recognize that the e-mail said something about the gov supported it or endorsed it. because i don't know anything about it. i have to believe that was like the governor's officer generically, that reference. as i stand here today, i don't know anything about a traffic study in springfield. >> did you ever go into -- and say this is what happens -- >> god, no, absolutely not. no. no. no. that's not the way i operated. terry, we built relationships over four years with folks, trying to be helpful to every town we could be helpful with appropriately. no, nothing like that was ever done. >> reporter: governor, you said you did some soul searches. i wonder if you're soul searches about the kind of people you hire or the kind of people you run the campaign or the kind of people you want to run the
republican party here, who are willing apparently willing to engage in retribution and called the mayor of ft. lee a racially insensitive name? >> sure. it was a mistake. the soul searches is complete on that part of it. it was a mistake. >> reporter: to hire them? >> obviously. it was a mistake. listen, the fact is that mistakes were made, and i'm responsible for those mistakes. i obviously try every chance i can to hire the very best people. i think the history of this administration shows that we have hired outstanding people with great ethical standards, who have done their jobs extraordinarily well. in a government of 65,000 people there are going to be times when mistakes are made. mistakes were made and i remediated those mistakes by the actions i have taken. so, you know, i'm in a constant
state of trying to figure out who are the best people for individual jobs, who will make me proud to have put them there. that's always going on. there's nothing new now, but there are times when people put in those decisions make mistakes, they disappoint you, you lose your confidence in them, or they lie to you. when you find that out, the test of leadership is what do you do? i found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. by 9:00 this morning, bridget kelly was fired. by 7:00, blel steppian was asked to leave my organization. that's pretty swift action for a day's work. that's the way i'll continue to conduct myself. phil? >> reporter: relatively people
in the hierarchy. how much of a crisis in confidence with the people surrounding yourself. i can differentiate, phil, between people who have served me well and who haven't. and, of course, there's always going to be some after something like this when you've been lied to. there's going to some crisis in confidence. okay? there always will be. anybody who tells you differently isn't tell you the truth. if they say this happened to you, and you're not going to second-guess yourself, then you're just stupid. of course i've second-guessed myself and gone through my head on some of this stuff. in the future i'd trick to be even more careful. but he area what i know about human beings. i've hired them in my time. as a hiring attorney in a
private practice law firm. sometimes, despite the best background checks, despite the best interviews, despite your best instincts, sometimes people are a mistake hire. sometimes they start off as a good hire and because of sicks that happened in their life, they change. you can't prevent everything. but the test of leadership is when you find it out, what do you do? and i'm saddened to have to do this. it's difficult personally to do. but it's my job. i've taken an oath, and i'm going to excuse my job. josh? >> reporter: governor -- the last two nights, because you just were contacted about it -- is that just a misstatement? >> yeah, i'm sorry. >> reporter: the other thing is, in terms of drilling down, now that you've been able to get a
handle, what happened? was there a -- enforcement? and what about this piece where there was some sort of vendetta first off, to my knowledge and i think the mayor said this last night, i have no knowledge of him being asked for an ens endorsement. he may have been but certainly never asked by me. he said on television he doesn't recall being asked for an endorseme endorsement. that's why this made no sense to me, josh. why would you execute a vendetta against somebody who you didn't even get a chance to say no to. put aside the fact you shouldn't do that at all. but then if you never ask for an endorsement, why are you mad he never gave one? >> you don't know what
prompted -- >> i don't. i don't. and again, i don't know whether this was a traffic study that then morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study. i've seen some so i know there's information there. i don't know what it is. we'll find out over time maybe. but that's really in the minds of the people who were doing that and that's what i based my decisions on at the time was the testimony that people gave. lastly -- >> no, listen, i don't know exactly what you're referencing, but i think you're talking about the foy memo that was leaked. is that what you're talking about? >> it was a little hard to follow because it was redakted but it seemed as from e-mails and traffic issue arose and
complaints were made, story appeared in one of the newspapers, complaints were then lodged internally over the stories and so whilehe says, something along the lines of we're taking appropriate action against the new york side and -- >> it was something -- yeah, i asked general sampson about this i think. it said something to that effect. i don't remember exactly what it was. i asked him about that yesterday. he has no idea what he's referring to. the over communication that he had -- just that that's not appropriate for folks to be leaking internal documents, but he has no recollection from what he said me yesterday of any conversation with that with baroni at all that references the gist of the e-mail.
certainly not that i'm aware of or not out of the normal. let's remember something too. this is a bistate agency with significant tension all the time. now, there's no tension between governor cuomo and i, we get along quite well. when issues rise to our level, we've been able to resolve them. but there is tension and always has been between new york and new jersey on the allocation of resources at the port authority. and so let me be clear. there is some battles over there that go on that have happened in every administration over the course of my memory. but, you can't connect that to -- that's kind of the ongoing nature of the tension of that agency and i think of most bistate agencies although i think the port authority of new york and new jersey because the resources are greater and demands are greater, it's even more. nothing specific to that, josh, but i want to make clear to
people, this is -- there is tension that goes on between the employees of these agencies. not everyone of those are issues of tension raised to my level and governor cuomo's level. good news for people of newark and new jersey, once the issues have been raised in the last three years to my level and governor cuomo's level, we have always between the two of us a.m.icably resolved it. that's the role governors have to play in that agency sometimes. >> you said clearly you had nothing to do with the actual implementation of what happened here. are you now questioning your own judgment about whether or not you can serve -- concerned whether or not putting out series of cones to change lanes of traffic was a legitimate -- >> let me answer that and i'll let you follow-up. i don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study. it's not my area of expertise.
so i wouldn't have a nose, for that, just wouldn't. i've been told that sometimes they are done live and sometimes by computer model. i've heard that in professionals who testified for the port authority. but you'd have to go to them to ask them what a legitimate traffic study is. i wouldn't know a traffic study if i tripped over it. >> it didn't raise -- >> no, it didn't. >> go ahead and follow up. >> you said sometimes it raises -- there's a report that in fact you called governor cuomo to complain that the new york representative on the port authority board was asking too many questions -- >> not true. i've denied that story before. that's an old story and governor cuomo denied it as well. it's not true. >> do you think he perjured
himself, lied under oath? >> i have no idea. there's a difference of opinion about the existence of a traffic study. there seem to me to be evidence that senator baroni showed of traffic study. now this could go back to the nuance of what constitutes a traffic study or not and they may be arguing about some specifics and nuance that i'm not familiar with. but i certainly would not accuse pat foy of perjuring himself. i don't. i'm not. i'm telling you what i was told and what we saw before the legislature. i certainly wouldn't accuse pat foy of perjuring himself. >> he was not under oath, right? >> do you think everyone he said was genuine -- >> guess what, after reading everything yesterday, i don't know. but what i'm telling you is, he seemed to display evidence of that at the time because that's
because of the tone and ten or of these e-mails and text messages, all of this stuff i'm not going to warranty because i don't know given this back and forth that went on between all of them. senator baroni served in this building for a long time. i've known him for a long time. when he -- you know, made his testimony, i would have no reason to believe he wasn't telling the truth. but obviously from reading these e-mails yesterday there was other stuff going on i hadn't been informed about. >> bob? >> why didn't you check back with him? you never called him to see -- >> i never called him personally no. but baroni's position continued to be there was a traffic study and he had a agreement with pat foy about that. i didn't think he was going to change his mind because pat foy already expressed those concerns in earlier written documents that he had -- that someone had put out to the press.
>> did you ask what was going on, why he -- >> i had no conversation with him yesterday. >> what happened here yourself? i had earlier conversations where bill told me he knew absolutely nothing about this. so you know, certainly the e-mails yesterday and e-mails were well after the fact. so that's not the basis upon which i made my decision on bill. my decision on bill was made based on the fact that of the tone and tenor and conduct that was evidenced in those e-mails, i loflt confidence in his judgment and that's why i made the decision i made as to bill. >> brian. >> it's no secret that many in
the republican party -- 2016, do you see what has happened here playing into your decision-making process over the next year or two? >> i have no idea what the decision-making process would look like at this point. as i said before -- i know that everybody in the political media and in the political chattering class wants to start the 2016 race. universities can't help themselves but do polls that are meaningless three years from an election. you can't help but put them on the air and talk about them. my job is to be governor of new jersey. i'm enormously platte flattered that folks would talk about me in my party as someone they think could be a candidate for president. but i am absolutely in no -- nowhere near beginning that consideration process. i haven't even been sworn in for my second term yet. i've got work to do here and
that's my focus. my focus is on the people of new jersey and the job they gave me. so all of those considerations are, you know, the kind of hysteria that goes around this because everybody is in that world gets preoccupied with that job. i am not preoccupied with that job. i'm preoccupied with this one. as you can tell, i've got plenty to do. it's not like i have spare time to spend. you're rolling your eyes and looking very disgruntled i hadn't called on you. >> barely talked about wildstein in this conference. can you elaborate how you're feeling towards his role in this on any information you garnered from him regarding -- you said you are one to show emotion. what kinds of emotion in private -- >> i'm sad. i'm sad. that's the predominant emotion i feel right now.